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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The St. Louis Arsenal

Quick question: why is the St. Louis Arsenal, with several extant buildings dating to the 1830s and the very reason the state seized control of the Police Department in the 1860s, not a tourist attraction within a landscaped park overlooking the Mississippi River?

Answer: The site, located at Second and Arsenal Streets, is a parking lot.

The squat limestone and brick structures may not look that exciting, but the site is extremely historic and should have seen a more sensitive handling than being surrounded by a sea of cars. It's too bad AB-Inbev is tightening its belt; refurbishing the grounds of the St. Louis Arsenal would have been a great act of public philanthropy.

Here's a view of Building 12, constructed in 1834. The photograph was taken in 1975, from the National Register of Historic Places nomination :

I think we could work with this. The nearby Brewery Tours could lead people to the Arsenal Tour as an option. If Beer and Guns doesn't sell, nothing will.


rob said...

I think that site is actually the home of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) -- technically part of the CIA. They want the opposite of visitors there

Chris Cook said...

Yeah, I think Rob's right. This isn't an A-B property. It's gov't owned.
That said, I had no idea what the original arsenal looked like, so thanks for posting a photo of that 1834 building. I wonder if the building is still in use?

Matt M. said...

I actually wasn't implying the site is owned by A-B; only that it's near and that the area draws tourists because of it already.

I didn't know it was CIA-owned though. Isn't there some other forlorn and private part of the Kosciusko Industrial District they could claim? This site seems too important and should be public.

rob said...

Looks like it's owned by the Air Force or DOD -- "The arsenal complex remains an active part of the military today, with much of it off limits to tourists and visitors. The Arsenal is maintained by the USAF and the Department of Defense, housing a major branch of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency."

From wikipedia:

That would be awesome if the site could be woven into some kind of tourist area with the brewery . . .

Michael R. Allen said...

Access would be great, but my preservationist heart is glad that a site that old is still being used for something close to its original use. Often use preservation is key to building preservation.

Matt M. said...

^ True. Good point.

I just wish the use, then, weren't so restrictive. It's hard to view it as much of a historic asset when the public would never sense its importance behind scores of over-sized cars.

Andrew J. Faulkner said...

Everybody beat me to it, but:
"Across a small park from Budweiser is a curious federal agency, located in a former arsenal. This is the primary office of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), outside of the Washington DC area. At least a few hundred people work there, conducting the mission of the NGA, which is to support the defense and intelligence communities with georeferenced information about things of interest in the world. Put another way, NGA is the lead agency in the American intelligence community for identifying targets and putting them on the map. In the language of the NGA itself, their mission is “to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of our national security. Geospatial intelligence is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth.” The NGA is the new name, since 2004, for the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which was created in 1996, and was itself the new conglomeration of the Defense Mapping Agency, the Central Imagery Office, the National Photographic Interpretation Center, and the imagery elements of the National Reconnaissance Office, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the CIA. The motto of the agency is “Know the Earth...Show the Way.” "

from CLUI

oggieja said...

The building in the picture is still being used. It is one of the original buildings. Originally it consisted of three separate buildings and then the hospital in the center burned down and was then replaced using some of the original materials.

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